The Future Awards Africa Winners Spotlight: Jason Njoku (Entrepreneur of the Year, Technology)

by SK Johnson

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Jason Njoku is a self-proclaimed geek and founder of what is, in his own words, “one of the most awesome internet companies in Africa”. That company, of course, is  iROKO, which launched in 2010 and has grown to become the largest distributors of Nigerian movies and music online. iROKO partners is responsible for several online brands including iROKOtv, as well as ‘iROKING’, a Nigerian music streaming platform, iROKtv, NollywoodLove and YorubaLove, all of which attract 6-7 Million unique viewers from 178 countries.

The company was birthed in London, England by Njoku and Bastian Gotter. In 2012, the company raised $8 millions in funding from Tiger Global, a hedge fund run by an early Facebook and Zynga investor. Jason, a Chemistry graduate of the University of Manchester, said;

Strangely enough, I never wrote a business plan. I never had to pitch to any VCs. I wasn’t even fundraising. After our story was told by Sarah Lacy (formerly of Techcrunch), FORBES, CNBC Africa, Variety and CNN we were inundated with funding inquiries and offers. All inbound. Tiger Global Management, a $9 billion NYC based venture and private equity fund, led the round; they believed [in] our vision. A very simple vision: bringing Nigerian entertainment online. I have always been of the opinion if you build something totally awesome. Investors will find you.

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In 2012 Njoku was listed by Forbes as one of 10 young African millionaires to watch.

In 2013, Jason and his partner launched SPARK, a “company that builds companies,” a $1M backed company created to support and develop aspiring Nigerian tech and internet entrepreneurs. Of SPARK, Njoku said;

In Africa, we’re witnessing an exciting metamorphosis, from a tech ‘scene’ to a tech ‘revolution’, where Lagos is very much the gateway for the entire continent. The creativity, talent, the spirit of entrepreneurship is here but Nigeria’s business eco system isn’t set up to adequately support start-ups in their earliest days. Our intention with SPARK is to act as the catalyst to a period of aggressive and exciting growth in Africa’s Internet sector.

Njoku married Nollywood actress Mary Remmy on Saturday the18th August 2012, in Lagos, and on July the 30th 2013, they  welcomed their first child, a baby boy who they named Jason Obinna Njoku.

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